A man has been jailed for life after murdering his stepdaughter by injecting her with a lethal dose of heroin, before hiding her body in a ditch behind an abandoned house.
Wesley Hadsell killed Anjelica “AJ” Hadsell in 2015 while she spent a break from university at her family home in Norfolk, Virginia.
Hadsell kidnapped the 18-year-old, assaulted her and then injected her with a lethal dose of heroin.
Police found her body five weeks later, partially buried in a drainage ditch behind an abandoned house. A post-mortem found she died from acute heroin poisoning and “homicidal violence”.
Hadsell, 50, was sentenced to life in prison plus 15 years, after being convicted of first-degree murder, concealing a body and possessing drugs in jail.
During his sentencing hearing he continued to plead his innocence, claiming Anjelica took her own life.
“I have been wrongfully convicted of these crimes but this fight is not over,” he said.
Judge L Wayne Farmer said Hadsell’s claim was “offensive”, adding: “You took a beautiful life and dumped it like trash.”
Shortly before Anjelica died, Hadsell’s wife had kicked him out of the house because of drug use, prosecutors said.
Hadsell was charged with the murder in 2018 and his first trial in 2020 was declared a mistrial after two days over disagreements on what evidence the jury should be allowed to hear.
Police investigating the case said Hadsell kidnapped Anjelica while she was folding laundry and listening to music in the living room.
Prosecutors said he then tried to distract police by lying and planting evidence in various places, including one of her jackets at a friend’s home.
Hadsell admitted to breaking into the home during an interview with a local TV station but denied hiding the jacket there.